The Influencer Marketing Landscape in Singapore (Updated in 2021)

[First posted on 6 Dec 2019, and updated on 9 Feb 2021]

With the Government championing for Singapore to become a Smart Nation by 2024, brands and consumers alike are going digital. The gradual shift to digital media has resulted in the rise of social media users – 4.6 million active users to be exact – and brought about an influx of influencers. Read on to find out why influencer marketing is all the rage now and how to hop on board.

Who are influencers?

First things first, influencers are individuals with the power to influence others. Think about all the times you’ve purchased a product just because it was endorsed by a famous figure, and they said it was good (well, you wouldn’t even have to say a word if you’re K-POP Boy Band BTS). The easiest way to understand Influencers is to categorize them into 4 tiers – Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano – according to their follower count.

Mega influencers are essentially celebrities (e.g. Joanne Peh) with the highest number of followers, resulting in the greatest reach. As such, you’d have to prepare a larger budget to seal the deal. While they have the greatest reach, Mega influencers are the ones with the lowest engagement of the bulk. Celebrities receive countless number of comments daily – it’s impossible to reply to each and every one of them and a lot of times, they don’t even manage their own accounts.

Macro influencers (e.g. Mongchin Yeoh) are similar to Mega influencers, apart from their difference in follower count. Macros are individuals with 30K and above followers and their engagement rate averages between 1% to 3%. They don’t come cheap but are slightly more affordable than Mega influencers. Most veteran bloggers and content creators like Xiaxue fall under this category.

Micro influencers (e.g. Chow Jia Hui) have a smaller follower count ranging from 5K to 30K, but typically, they rank higher than Macros and Megas in terms of engagement rate (3% to 5%). They are also more cost-friendly in comparison to Macro influencers and believe it or not, Government bodies have engaged micro influencers for their campaigns! To put things into perspective, micro influencers (58.2%) dominate the local scene.

Nano influencers (e.g. Natasha) include anyone with less than 5K followers online. Unlike influencers from other tiers, Nanos generally have the highest level of engagement (7% to 10%) with friends and family constituting the bulk of their followers. If you’re working with a smaller budget or if you’re particular about authenticity, Nano influencers are your best bet! To put things into perspective, the budget meant for 1 macro influencer can be used across 50 nano influencers or more!

Image: Statista

According to Statista, consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 are most inclined to make a purchase based on recommendations by social media influencers. As such, we encourage brands targeting the younger generation to engage influencers. For best results, the platform of choice should be Instagram. As mentioned by Jian Hao Tan, “Instagram is really brand friendly and it reaches out to those under 30.”

Top 3 benefits of influencer marketing

1) Personalized content

Due to brand image and guidelines, a brand’s advertisement is very much restricted. Their ads may also be seen as repetitive as their creativity reaches a standstill over time. This is where influencers come in. Unlike brands, the sky’s the limit for influencers. Influencers are compelled to take your ideas to the next level because the content would be going up on their carefully curated feed, and interesting shots receive more likes and eyeballs! You’d stand to gain as well with more people learning of your brand.

Influencers develop their own style over time. For instance, Daryl Aiden Yow is your go-to for aesthetically pleasing and creative content. On the flip side, Umehara Keiji would be more suited for fun and comical content. He may not be as aesthetic as Daryl, but he is definitely more relatable. To get the best of both worlds, brands can engage more than one influencer to promote the same product.

To spread the word about ezbuy’s 11.11 sales, the brand collaborated with influencers across different tiers.

Image: naomineo_
Image: shorteur

Both influencers shared about the same sale but their content and caption are curated in their own style. They did so while adhering to ezbuy’s requirements – to mention the campaign and include relevant hashtags as well as the campaign logo in their image.

2) Authenticity

Say you’re a skincare brand and your product reduces wrinkles significantly. You’d definitely emphasize your product’s benefits and include reviews in your ads. However, from a consumer’s perspective, it could be seen as pushy and unconvincing, since there are brands out there who make false claims.

On the other hand, when influencers share about the same product, their followers tend to be more receptive because (1) influencers have gained the trust of their followers over time, (2) their branded content is less likely to be as aggressive, (3) they’re more inclined to share both pros and cons of the product, and lastly, (4) they are knowledgeable on specific topics of interest i.e. beauty, and are therefore seen as credible sources of information.

Image: ohsofickle

Tammy Tay, otherwise known online as Ohsofickle, is a makeup junkie and a huge fan of Maybelline’s foundations. She has been raving about their products for awhile now and provides reviews for her followers to support her claims. Tammy also uploads videos of herself testing the product out for greater authenticity.

3) Increased brand awareness

The arrival of social media eventually led to the shift in channels used for advertising. With online ads, brands can better target specific groups of audiences (who frequent social media platforms) unlike traditional media where eyeballs for your billboard advertisements are lost if your target audience takes a different route.

With advertisers going digital, we now have to sit through at least 5 seconds of advertisement before getting to the YouTube video proper. To mute these “annoying” adverts, social media users are turning to AdBlockers. According to DataReportal, almost half of the population in Singapore (49%) used AdBlockers on a monthly basis in 2020!

For greater relevance, brands have started using influencers capable of getting the same message across effectively (without their audience tuning out). Apart from garnering more views, influencers have access to numerous groups of followers – this means greater awareness for your brand!

Image: foreo_sg
Image: sophleow

Foreo and influencer Sophie Leow have promoted the same toothbrush. However, their photo angle and caption are worlds apart. Foreo has gone with a luxurious and aesthetic angle, whereas Sophie’s photo is more family-oriented and aligned with her image as a mother. As seen from the photos above, Sophie’s photo is more well-liked by Singaporeans.

What influencers want brands to know

Now that you know what influencers have to offer, here are some tips to know before working on an influencer campaign:

“I’ve found that my best campaigns all have one thing in common – the mechanics, execution, and direction were crafted by me and the client.” – Jemma Wei

“Being relatable, humorous, and having an open mind helped us strike a connection with our followers as well.” – youtiao666

“Ensure you’re engaging us because you think we fit the brand and because you like the way we edit our content.” – Eunice Annabel

“…there needs to be a fine line between letting the influencer communicate the product or service in however way he or she wants, and dictating the photo.” – Andrea Chong

Click here for a comprehensive list of mistakes to avoid when running an influencer campaign!

Getting started on influencer marketing

Ready to try your hand at influencer marketing? Be clear of the following first:

Target audience

Platform to utilize

Budget

Type of influencer

Campaign objective

Brand message

All these are interlinked. For instance, to target students, Instagram and YouTube are more effective options than Facebook since the latter is commonly used by adults to keep up with their family and friends. Younger influencers are more relevant to students, but keep your budget in mind because different influencers have varying rate cards. If raising brand awareness is your main objective, consider engaging more than one influencer. For instance, to capture the attention of students, your brand message should be concise and fun.

Image: titandigitalmedia

Teenagers are at the age where their battle with acne is especially tough. Hence, Himalaya Herbals reached out to students through Titan Digital Media who uploads school-based skits on YouTube. As influencers themselves, each cast member has a pretty large following online which includes youngsters, making them good spokespeople for Himalaya’s anti-acne products.

With more consumers prioritizing authenticity, there’s no better time to give influencers a shot.

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